Twitter in Ten Minutes

Epic Fu (a Revision 3 show) covers Twitter and gives you the low-down on a bunch of apps.

My personal faves are: twitterfeed, tweetdeck, twitterfon, twitterlator.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Twitter in Five Minutes“, posted with vodpod

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“You Can’t Buy That!” dot com

You might have noticed that I changed the name of this blog.  This is now the home of: http://www.youcantbuythat.com.

Why the change?

First off, I never really liked the last name (Blg Slice of Awesome) since it was relatively meaningless.  Second, it occurred to me last week that the best marketing is the kind that you can’t buy.  In fact, you hear people say “You can’t buy that that kind of marketing!” when they see a brand truly connecting with consumers.

  • You CAN buy advertising (that’s why they call it an “advertising/media buy”) – but if you’re here reading my blog, you probably know that advertising old school thinking.
  • You can’t buy product innovation that captures consumer attention and imagination.
  • You can’t buy passionate consumers who recommend your brand, product or service to their friends.
  • You can’t buy meaningful interactions and conversations with consumers that educate them on your brand’s folklore or functional benefits.

Of course you can spend money to facilitate these “priceless” opportunities, but you can’t flat out buy them.

So this blog will focus on the idea of the best marketing tactics being the ones you can’t buy.  Sure, I’ll have some other odds and ends here and there, but my focus will be on the ideas that connect with consumers in a personal way.

If you have an examples or ideas for marketing program that ar better than anything you can buy, email me at: nealdstewart (at) yahoo dot com.

Lessons From MLB Blogs

Unless you hate sports or have been too busy playing World of Warcraft, you’ve probably seen Major League Baseball’s “There’s Only One October” TV.  They’ve gone with a “blogger” theme where the B or C list celebs (Randy Jackson, for example) ad actual players narrarate their entires.  Aside from the fact that you can totally tell that the players aren’t even typing on their keyboards, the ads aren’t bad and kind of get me excited about the playoffs.  At least as excited as I can get with the Cardinals or Rockies not in it.

Of course they have an online component where they’ve hired some actual players, like Jacoby Ellsbury Shane Victorino to blog throughout their team’s playoff run.  It’s a cool idea as it allow fans to get somewhat of an inside look at what the teams are feeling and a chance to interact by making comments on the entries.

It looks like this part of the campaign has been pretty successful.  Mark DeRosa’s last entry has over 450 comments.  Mostly Cub fans crying in their beer, but I digress.

Mark DeRosa Blog

They also have a fictional character named “October Gonzo” blogging.  This character has been blogging fairly normal entries that could be made by pretty much any beat writer.  This part of the campaign just rubs me the wrong way – it’s inauthentic and fails to offer any additional value that I can’t get from espn.com or sportsline.com.  And it’s pretty obvious that the fans feel the same way.  There aren’t any comments on the most recent entry, compared to the hundreds the player entries are getting.  Why didn’t they hire a die-hard fan from each playoff city to serve as their Chief Blogger during the playoffs

MLB Blogs

A couple of lessons learned here:

  1. Authenticity counts. People don’t care about, or read blogs written by fictional people.
  2. Blogs have a certain standard to live up to. They have to be more than what can be found in a newspaper or major media website.  Consumers/readers expect blogs to dig deeper and cover the story that isn’t being told.

Are your brand blogs authentic and dig deeper?

The One Thing NOT to do After GABF Week

Last year, I made a mistake that I’ll never repeat again: I let my wife schedule my yearly physical the week AFTER the Great American Beer Festival. It’s not all that smart to go the “The Doc” after putting my liver through the 3-day binger that is the GABF.

This year’s festival probably won’t be too much different. There are just too many beers to sample and being that I work in the beer business, I don’t have any excuse.

My goals this year are to document the week here and on our Flying Dog Blog.  The content on FlyingDogNews.com will obviously be more brand related, but on here I want to bring you some conversations and interviews with people who are out there doing some cool shit in the world of beer and marketing.

I’ll also be twittering and flickring the week, so check out that out, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Are You Too Busy to Blog or Do You Just Not Believe in It?

I was cleaning up my RSS feeds on Bloglines today and found three agencies that have either:

  • really started mailing it in and have gone to just posting meaningless bullshit
  • have given up on blogging altogether

This reminds me of 6-7 years ago when companies would bid on building a website for a brand I was working on and promised to do an awesome job.  But they had a shitty website themselves and claimed it was because they were “too busy building awesome website for their clients to have a good one for themselves”.  I seriously heard this all the time.

Now it’s 2008 and blogging is all the rage and I’m sure every agency is recommending this to their clients and potential clients. (I actually don’t know this for fact, since we do almost everything in house).  Yet, these agencies have clearly demonstrated that they don’t really know how to do it themselves.

I’ll admit, blogging takes some discipline.  And it’s not easy to come up with something to write about everyday.  But if you’re going to talk the talk, you better walk the walk.

So what’s the deal?  Do they not know how to do it? Not believe in it? Or are they really THAT busy?  i doubt it’s the latter because it seems like the busy agencies blog.

New Blog: Mount Rushmore Of…

To be really honest, I’m really bored with this blog.  It’s just too broad to really be interesting.  I dabble in various marketing topic, I talk about my lousy tennis game and I list some links from my Delicious page.  Let’s face it, there are a lot of other people out there doing the same thing (minus the tennis) and they do a much better job with it.

So I am turning my attention to a new blog: mountrushmoreof.com

What is it?  mountrushmoreof.com is a blog dedicated to debating the most influential people (within a certain topic) of all-time.  For example, my first post is my Mount Rushmore of Baseball: Jackie Robinson, Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Ted Williams.

This will work best if people participate and debate the topic – so jump over there and tell me my opinion is shit.  Just remember to tell me what your Mount Rushmore is and WHY.

I’m not going to shut this blog down, but I think I’m going to enjoy posting on this one and of course, The Turkey Sandwich Report alot more.

ATTENTION NEW MEDIA/PR PEOPLE – THERE IS A RIGHT AND WRONG WAY TO MEET BLOGGERS

I got an email this week from someone in the “New Media/PR” Department of a company that I mentioned on the blog a little while back.  The problem is that I had no recollection of even talking about them.  It was a teeny-tiny mention on one of my delicious link posts and really meant nothing to me.

So the guy sends me the email and I’m not going to mention their name because it will pop up in their Google Alert:

Hey Neal!

My name is Rod Stiffington and I am the social media PR guy here at the XYZ Widget Factory home office in Belleville, IL. I came across your blog and the funny mention of XYZ Widgets.  My job is to analyze and monitor brand mentions online as well as pitch XYZ content to online journalists and bloggers.  I was excited to see our name on your site and I am glad you know about XYZ.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you in the future.

PS – I am also on LinkedIn as well as Twitter (XYZWidgets).

Best regards,

Rod Stiffington
Assistant Public Relations Manager, New Media
XYZ Widgets, Inc

Uh, ok.  How about you buy me a new iPhone when it comes out?

Anyway, this all got me thinking about the right way to proactively build a relationship with a blogger.

  • I like how they are monitoring blogs and see them as an important way of talking to active consumers.  But his email really made it clear that he just came across my blog because it popped up on his Google Alert.  He could of at least made it sound like it was more than just a “one night stand” deal where he only read my blog because I mentioned his brand’s name.  Kind of narcissistic, don’t you think?
  • Nowhere in the email did he try to engage me in a conversation.  My comment about his brand was fairly non-descript and left the door wide open to ask about my experience with their brand and why I chose to mention them.
  • If I were him, I would have just left a comment on the blog entry.  That would have showed me (as the blogger that they are reading and interested in what I have to say.  Us bloggers love them comments.
  • Take some time to make sure the blogger wants to hear from you.  If the brand mention is fairly random, the blogger could probably care less if they hear from you.  But if their blog repeated mentions your brand or the business you’re in, they probably DO want to hear from you.  For example, I love hearing from Which Wich and Cheeba Hut regarding my Turkey Sandwich Report blog.
  • Even if your intentions are to build online awareness for your brand, bloggers want to think you’re there to help them enhance their blog.  It’s just like any other form of media – what’s in it for the publication, network, etc?

Overall, building a relationship with a blogger is a lot like picking someone up in a bar.  If you come on too strong or just walk up to them and think they’re going to be interested in you – it’s probably not going to work.  I’m not saying it NEVER works, it’s just that there is probably a better way.

How We Use Web 2.0 to Start Brand Conversations

I’ve looked all over the interweb for a simple, social media/web 2.0 flow chart-diagram-type-thingy.  Most of what I have found is really technical (like this) and goes on the theory that everyone knows and uses EVERY social media application.

So I got to doodling today and came up with this:

Web 2.0 Brand Communication Flow Chart

Maybe this is overly simplified, but this isn’t intended for all you blog-reading geeks.  It’s more for people who work on the brand side, with small budgets and want to get the word out.

Here’s how it works:

  • Content is developed.  It can come in the form of photos, in-store displays, videos, promotions and more.
  • That content is packaged up and formatted for a blog. (I really considered adding “website” in that box, but decided against it).
  • From there the content is shared in your favorite social networking and bookmarking websites.
  • THEN, the content is promoted on Twitter.  Personally, I see Twitter in a world of it’s own and different than blogs or social sites.
  • That’s it.  Pretty simple.

But give me your thoughts.  This is by no means perfect or finished.  It’s just a starting point.

Motivation to Learn and Share

For the first time in six years, I’m not in Austin for the shit show that is South-by-Southwest (SXSW). But I have been watching a lot of the blogs, tweets and tumbles coming out of the Interactive portion of SXSW. It’s pretty interesting how everyone wants to share what they are talking about and what they’re learning. It’s almost like people are competing to share the best information.

All of this got me thinking that I’ve probably learned more by just watching how people are using social media to broadcast their experience and learnings to the world than I would have by actually attending the conference.

Seriously, the more I see how people use tools like Twitter, blogs, Facebook, etc., the more I learn how I can apply them to my own marketing challenges.

The people that are doing this better than anyone are the guys from Plaid. A few guys from the agency made the trek down to Austin and they’re documenting the whole thing via their SXSW blog, Twitter, and Tumblr. I’ve managed to steal a lot of good ideas by simply watching how they have documented their trip. Their work has also motivated me to get out and go to a conference so I can share what I learn. All of which got me thinking again…

Does a collaborative environment that offers tools to share insights stimulate learning?

Focus group of one here, but I think it does for me. I’m heading to San Diego for the Craft Brewers Conference in April, and I’m excited to go there and document my trip and share everything I learn. The best part for me is that I’m more motivated to learn and retain information.

Are you more motivated to learn when you have the opportunity to share?

I am the Director of Marketing for Flying Dog Brewery and this is my personal blog and these are my personal opinions. Don’t take them too seriously. I don’t.

No More Long Blogs

I’ve pretty much phased reading uber long blogs out of my life.  I just don’t have the attention span and it’s got me worried if I will be able to ever read a book again because I have started to “skim” so much.  If I’m not reading long blogs, then I bet other people aren’t either.

So, no more long blog posts here.  I’m not talking Twitter short (140 characters) – I’m talking less than 500 words.  Probably closer to 200.  If I can’t get the job done in less than 500 words, then it’s not a good enough idea/concept to put in a blog.

(FYI  – This is 110 words)